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Which would be the best route for me if I eventually wanted to become an FBI agent?

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  • Which would be the best route for me if I eventually wanted to become an FBI agent?

    I'm a college senior, and I'm debating between joining the Army as an officer, or becoming a police officer and getting my law degree. Which would be better if I wanted to work as a federal agent? I've always thought about becoming an Alaskan state trooper, would it be possible to go federal if I worked up there? Lastly, would it be better to get a masters in criminal justice, or get the law degree? Any answers would help. Thanks a lot

  • #2
    What is your degree in? It is very possible to get on with the FBI straight out of college. I am a recent grad in the hiring process with a few agencies and like you thought about getting a masters in criminal justice to go fed. Although, with everyone in LE I've talked to, a criminal justice degree means little to nothing compared to other degrees such as accounting or finance which the FBI loves to recruit straight out of college. If you have a bachelors degree and want to go directly to fed it is possible. Just my two cents. Hope it helps.
    Last edited by formeraggie08; 11-06-2009, 12:50 AM.

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    • #3
      I would start learning a foreign language also.

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      • #4
        I can say that graduating college and going to the military afterwards has helped me leaps and bounds. You get the points for hiring, the federal gov't wants to hire vets so that helps and some agencies will hire you VRA or direct hire if they want you. It's been a lot of help with me, helped me get picked up as a FAM, as a FDNS analyst and now with ICE. You can never go wrong with the military, officer route is a great route to go for experience and looks incredible on a resume. That being said, you may end up putting in 6 years, that was the deal breaker for me not wanting to go officer. To each their own, but it was a great route for me.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by usrname77 View Post
          I'm a college senior, and I'm debating between joining the Army as an officer, or becoming a police officer and getting my law degree. Which would be better if I wanted to work as a federal agent? I've always thought about becoming an Alaskan state trooper, would it be possible to go federal if I worked up there? Lastly, would it be better to get a masters in criminal justice, or get the law degree? Any answers would help. Thanks a lot
          I don't think there is a magic bullet. I was an active duty Marine in combat arms, fought in Iraq, and now I'm an intelligence analyst...but I didn't make the cut with the FBI even though when I applied they were specifically recruiting combat experience and intelligence experience. I figure this was due to there being ~300,000 applicants during that big push in January, and with the economy being down, I was probably one of many people with similar credentials trying to get limited slots.

          I would do the Army officer thing. I'm enlisted, but commissioned officers seem to pull more weight with the FBI from reading various message boards. Be careful though, you might fall in love with the military and do 20 years.
          Big Brother is watching

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          • #6
            Originally posted by formeraggie08 View Post
            What is your degree in? It is very possible to get on with the FBI straight out of college. I am a recent grad in the hiring process with a few agencies and like you thought about getting a masters in criminal justice to go fed. Although, with everyone in LE I've talked to, a criminal justice degree means little to nothing compared to other degrees such as accounting or finance which the FBI loves to recruit straight out of college. If you have a bachelors degree and want to go directly to fed it is possible. Just my two cents. Hope it helps.

            Only if you're 23 and over. And have some good experience in the real world. Most agencies will let you go through the process at 21, FBI is 23.

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            • #7
              Definitely JD over Criminal Justice. The FBI has a long history of hiring lawyers.

              Military is a good option, great if you can go the officer route. When I applied, I submitted my online app and waited a month. Then I called my AC and asked him if he had received my application. He said he hadn't seen it, but he wanted to know my background. I told him I'm a former Army Captain and he immediately said, "you're eligible to take the next phase I." Then he went on to tell me about his days in the Army as Captain right after Vietnam.

              At my Phase II, I met 11 applicants on my test day. 6 were military or former military, at least 4 were officers. In my interview, I could tell by the interviewer's reactions to my answers that 2 of the 3 agents were former military.

              You can't go wrong with the military. Serve your country and get great experience.

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              • #8
                I'm just debating whether getting my law degree in addition to being a cop would look better then just being an officer. I know how hard it is to get advanced degrees in the first few years of being in the military. I also dont know how I'll be branched, so I could wind up in supply. Not sure if that would look better then a law degree

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by usrname77 View Post
                  I'm just debating whether getting my law degree in addition to being a cop would look better then just being an officer. I know how hard it is to get advanced degrees in the first few years of being in the military. I also dont know how I'll be branched, so I could wind up in supply. Not sure if that would look better then a law degree
                  Fairly simple. Nail the PFT, and do good on academics and you should get one of your top three choices. Intel and Infantry are the most competitive. I'll just about guarantee you that you can get a combat arms slot of your chosing though. You could always go Army reserve and get a guaranteed branch.
                  Big Brother is watching

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                  • #10
                    The Army also lets you trade branches with other OCS candidates after Basic while at OCS. If you want combat arms you will get it.

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                    • #11
                      Go Infantry, it'll be the greatest most intense experience that you make it.

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                      • #12
                        Get in good shape and go IN. All IN officers get a shot at Airborne and Ranger School if they want it and most take it (not all graduate due to injuries etc....). It's a great cred to have and will go a long way in pushing you to your limits.

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                        • #13
                          I would second getting your JD over a master's in CJ if you decide to go the degree route. Granted it'll take you longer, cost more and is an overall painful experience, but you'll "learn to think like lawyer."

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                          • #14
                            Out of hand, don't waste your money on a CJ degree. And unless you have within you the passion for actually practicing law at some point in your life, forget the JD. (Ask me how I know.)

                            Aside from knowing Arabic and Chinese, Accounting and Computer forensics together would be extremely attractive to the FBI. These are skills that are very in demand, because any investigative agency can put them to good use.

                            This is the advice I wish someone had given me 15 years ago.

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                            • #15
                              Agree with the two posters above. As someone in the know about law school, it's not worth doing unless you want to be a lawyer. Going to law school just to go 1811 is a tough call. Law school is draining and while it may make you slightly more competitive, I don't think it does enough to make it worth the time/money sacrifice.

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